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GSK in manufacturing research collaboration with university

Published on 18/03/11 at 10:49am

Research into a cutting-edge area of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the UK is to be supported by a new £51 million government investment.

GlaxoSmithKline is among the companies who will forge alliances with UK universities to develop specialist manufacturing technologies, as part of a drive to support the country’s manufacturing base.

The initiative is part of the Advanced Manufacturing strand of the government's ‘growth review’ aimed at stimulating growth in the most promising areas of manufacturing research, including pharmaceuticals, aerospace and the automotive industry.

A total of £45m will fund nine Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centres for Innovative Manufacturing, and a further £6m will support the manufacturing pioneers of the future.

GSK will contribute to the Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies. The technology will allow better selection of drug candidates for clinical trials, both on the basis of clinical efficacy manufacturing feasibility, resulting in greatly reduced costs.

The project will be led by University College London, and will be funded by a grant of £4.9m, with an additional £3.9m from industry partners.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "Partnerships between higher education and industry are increasingly essential drivers of innovation, opportunity and national prosperity. These new centres will combine inventive research and business acumen to develop the high-tech manufacturing industries we need to secure sustainable growth."

Other national centres will be based at Nottingham, Cranfield and Strathclyde universities will focus on emerging science in areas such as novel composite technologies, intelligent automation.

Other companies involved include Rolls-Royce, IBM and a range of high-tech small and medium sized enterprises.

Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk said: "Manufacturing generates £140 billion a year for the economy and accounts for 55% of total UK exports. And increasingly, it is high tech, advanced manufacturing that leads the way.

"But we need to do more to rebalance our economy. These exciting new partnerships between our universities and businesses will play a vital role in keeping UK manufacturing ahead of the game internationally."

The EPSRC fund will also include Manufacturing Fellowships, which will provide five years support for at least six exceptional engineers and technology specialists from business who are able to bridge university and industrial cultures. Each Fellow will lead a £1 million programme of research.

Andrew McConaghie

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